The Grain Farmer’s Perspective

Last week I got an email from a wheat farmer in South Dakota. He had read Grain Brain and mentioned he learned a lot by doing so. In the interest of furthering his knowledge, he wanted to know what message I had for grain farmers. If he was to quit producing grain and wheat, he wanted to know what farmers who want to produce products that are healthy for consumers should be doing, both to produce something that can “feed the world,” and make a sustainable business for them. I was very excited to hear from him, and think it’s a fascinating topic, so I’m sharing our exchange with all of you.

After reading Grain Brain, he e-mailed me the following:

I own a wheat farm, just bought your book and read it last night.  I like to learn about things, and enjoyed your book.

If you have a message to the farmers in the world who grow grains and feed the planet, what would it be?

Farmers represent 1% of the population of the world yet provide all the food, so our perspective is a bit lost out there in the “real world”.  Just curious if you consider our perspective from something other than the knee jerk greedy capitalist point of view.  If we quit producing grain, what should we do instead?  I presume the world will be hungry when all the bread and pasta is gone, not to mention being upset about the beer.

Not trying to be flippant here, serious question. I would love to produce a product that is healthy for the consumer.  Hope to hear from you.

Best regards,
RB

I promptly responded:

Dear RB,

I am very grateful to have received your very sincere letter. Clearly, the message in Grain Brain must truly represent a deep challenge to you now that you’ve had the opportunity to explore the current science as it relates not only to the issue of gluten sensitivity but also carbohydrate exposure. The latter becomes an issue for you somewhat more indirectly until you recognize that by and large products made from wheat ultimately represent significant sources of carbohydrate exposure in the modern Western diet.

It is truly a remarkable statistic that you and your fellow farmers represent only 1% of the population but yet you are able to feed all the rest of us. So I and the other 99% owe so much to you and your fellow farmers. That said, the current crop you have chosen to provide is indeed the source of many of the ills of our modern world. And this statement is made with no intention of disrespect to you personally. Clearly the role of wheat in human disease is just beginning to be understood.

I know precious little about farming, but I do know that there are crops being grown that offer up significant health benefits without the risk posed by wheat. A few examples include pistachio nuts which are gaining huge market share here in the U.S., other nut and seed crops, and of course various above ground vegetables. Again, I cannot pretend to have any knowledge about what it might take to retrofit a farming operation to support such a change.

I am respectfully yours,
David Perlmutter, MD

RB was very appreciative of my response, and took the time to give me his thoughts on what I had to say:

First of all thank you very much for the reply, I wasn’t expecting anything (no offense) – it just seems less than frequent in this day and age.  So, again greatly appreciated.

I won’t keep bothering you, but as I read your book and consider the evolution of human anthropology through work from folks like Jared Diamond (Germs, Guns and Steel, etc.) it is fascinating to ponder the path we humans have taken in the last few centuries.  The impact that our environment and food sources has is astounding relative to our current welfare and health.

So, my interest in your work and implications to modern agriculture raises the question of sustainability for the worlds food requirements.  Simply, can we eliminate the major grains (corn, soybeans, wheat, and rice) and continue to feed the current 7 billion hungry mouths?   I think it is a great question, and begs for the answer to alternative and healthier food supplies that us farmers would be looked upon to supply.  Not every area that currently grows grains can simply switch to nuts and vegetables, those are unique environmental areas that support those food stuffs.  In my case I think I could grow flax, maybe a good switch – I don’t know.

Anyway, again thanks much.  I actually have been researching a bit of this on my own and in the last 4 weeks gave up my precious grains and pastas and sugars (well not all, but a great deal).  In place I have feasted on steak, bacon and eggs, and some god awful looking veggie slurpies that my wife makes.  Lost 6 pounds in the process and have felt like I have over eaten if anything….so I have to say I think you are on to something.

Cheers,
RB

I’m really so glad that my book was able to kick off a conversation like this. Do you have any thoughts on this issue? Keep the conversation going by sharing them below!

For more information, order your copy of Grain Brain today and join Dr. Perlmutter’s email list.

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  • Tess Howell

    As my husband and i expect to inherit some “wheat land” some day, this question has prompted some thought from us as well. There are alternatives, but it’s tricky! The fact that most wheat farmers are heavily invested in their land AND special equipment makes things more complicated.

    RB might consider growing a more traditional form of wheat — einkorn and emmer seeds ARE out there, and since he’d be providing a rare and special commodity, theoretically it would command a higher price per bushel, even though he’d get fewer bushels per acre. Or he could take an entirely different route, and raise grass-fed ruminants instead. There where so many buffalo used to thrive, i imagine it would be excellent for beef, lamb or goat (a growing market).

    Best wishes to all the family farmers out there! It’s an exceptionally honorable calling!

    • Philip Perlman

      We live in NY State and I have around 300 nut trees that I harvest which are raised organically. Nut trees grow here in Zone 5 and I know of others north of me in Canada who raise nut trees so they are a fairly dependable crop, which lasts a long time.

      Philip Perlman

  • Michael Kovacs

    Flax is a good idea, but Alfalfa and grass to feed livestock would be better. But, providing pasture for free range beef and buffalo would be best. Better for the planet and better for us.

    • Deb

      I read that Alfalfa is being made a GMO – if that is the case forget about eating it.

  • Lynn Nordean

    What about hemp seeds? Here in Canada several former grain farmers have switched to hemp seeds.

    • sonotboi

      There is only one state in the union where growing hemp is legal. Colorado.

    • David Perlmutter

      Organic hemp seed oil is a healthful oil.

      • 1625toots

        And one can make bio-fuel, clothing, rope, or extract protein from the plant. The Oil Lobby will fight Hemp as a crop as long as there is oil in the ground.

      • Nicole

        What about hemp milk?

  • Ranchwife

    I applaud this farmer from South Dakota. We ranch in southeastern Montana and raise Monsanto-doused Roundup Ready corn for feeding calves through the winter. I have been a migraine sufferer for years and this has led me on a saga to try to learn what I can about managing these headaches. It has brought me to the Wheat Belly Book and now your Grain Brain Book. I am sorry to say that the moral and health implications on the livestock, land, and the people who eat these products is lost on my husband. He cares only about the $ in his pocket. I think a paradigm shift is necessary before many of those in the agricultural community will understand.

    Thank you for your book, Dr. Perlmutter. It was extremely well written and enlightening.

    • David Perlmutter

      Thanks for your comments Ranchwife, and I’m glad to hear you’ve had a chance to read both Grain Brain and Wheat Belly. The books are perfect complements.

  • Sandy

    Robb Wolf has a post today that is somewhat related to this topic so I wanted to pass along the link:
    http://robbwolf.com/2013/10/09/permaculture/
    (having to type on my phone otherwise I would summarize but the article isn’t long)

  • Channing Hillway

    South Dakota is somewhat unforgiving, both in terms of climate and water, grains being an agricultural compromise. The whole of the state should return to natural grasses and grazing bison, for example, as a healthy food for humans. That doesn’t solve the problem for those who own and work the land. Aquaculture may be on alternative, building a series of greenhouses using the substantial materials needed to survive the weather extremes. Various fish are raised in tanks, consuming feeder fish that eat algae, for example, and the fish “manure” is circulated in hydroponic flats where vegetables are grown, all organic. There are various examples of the approach on the Internet, including one man who has been widely featured, making a fine living in, I believe, Minnesota, on 1/4 acre. Aquaponics uses the concept of a complete, ecological system that is optimally maintained through inputs to keep everything in balance. ** I’m not sure if the Polyface Farm system would work in South Dakota, easily found in the Internet. Extensive use of cover crops would recondition the soil while optimal grasses were established. The drawback would be the need for substantial livestock housing for long periods during the hard winters, and stockpiling the hay to feed them. Reestablishing the natural grasses over several years would tend to provide for water retention that has been lost in growing wheat and corn where repeated tilling of the soil has resulted in rapid dehydration and biome depletion through erosion.

  • Chris Ferguson

    I am an Australian farmer producing grass fed meat, mainly goat, for the export market, mainly the USA. As a farmer my identity is inextricably tied to what I do, and like all farmers I know, there is a strong element of pride in knowing that we feed the world.

    I’ve long had an interest in anthropology and in particular the changes bought about by agriculture. I believe that agriculture was born out of drought and famine and perpetuated by the formation of larger villages-civilizations that had strong benefits for the occupants over a nomadic lifestyle. In essence, I believe grains to be drought food, what we ate when we couldn’t get enough meat. Some of the oldest, healthiest civilisations documented were based on an almost purely protein/fat diet http://www.mendosa.com/stefansson1.htm for example.

    The problem we are now faced with as a species is resource limitation comparative to world population. It takes more land to produce enough meat to keep someone alive than it does grain- quality of life not taken into account. Farming is an increasingly difficult occupation to sustain. Compared to my grandparents, I have to produce far more, over a much larger area, with a small portion of the labour, for the same end-price as they received- or less relative to inflation. To quote an amazing Irish dairy farmer I know, “there’s no room for sissies in farming.” (and I am a woman.)

    On a recent study trip to the USA, I was flabbergasted when wandering around Hollywood by the level of obesity- which seems to be primarily a disease of the poor. People were willing to spend so much to be entertained, but wanted their food for next to nothing. The grain based diet was fattening them like cattle in a feedlot. Grain can be produced cheaply and in ginormous quantities compared to grass fed meat, which here in Australia, a massive meat producer, is sold very close (and often below) its cost of production.

    I am posting this comment for discussion, and in the hope it finds it’s way to thinkers, shakers and movers like Dr Perlmutter. As farmers we really do care extraordinarily about what we produce and it’s end effects, we tend not to be the “greedy capitalist land rapers and animal abusers that we are regularly portrayed as (or is that just in Australia?) But profitability is a huge driver, as in any business, and we are often operating close to the line of fiscal sustainability simply because food is far too cheap. In Australia as in the USA, the portion of weekly income spent on food is far less than it has ever been.

    Food for thought :)

    BTW- Grain Brain is a fantastic read – Thank You!

    • Leaf Eating Carnivore

      As far as I am aware, the invention of grain agriculture is what has made our massive populations possible. The upside of this has been the growth of civilizations and occupational specializations that have led to tremendous invention. The downside has been that we are now subject to disease and disability that is a direct result of our unnatural, unhealthy diets. We are also degrading the planet and running into other limits to growth – most presently, fresh water shortages.

      The only constructive solution I can see is to seriously throw our energies into limiting the human population, so that we can keep the advantages that said invention has brought, while maximising the quality of life for each person.

      Good luck with that, though, given the Darwinian imperative to breed. If we can’t even resist a random bagel, I have little hope that we will see the sense of reproductive restraint. In that case, this whole nutritional worry, justified though it is, will be moot, because we will assuredly continue to be headed for the inevitable wars, droughts and famines – and our version of the well-known rabbit population crash.

      I just hope that we leave some planetary viability.

  • Linda Carlisle

    I just listened to your book Grain Brain. I am a celiac and the book makes sense to me. I am not able to eat any fish or seafood. I am allergic to iodine and was told to stay away from this type of food. The last time I ate fish it did not go well. What if anything do I eat in the place of this to get the vitamins I would normally get from fish? Linda

    • David Perlmutter

      Fish is a strong source of protein, but also omega-3s. Consider a supplement, or eat omega-3 rich foods like walnuts, flaxseed oil, or olive oil!

      • leecoyne

        Or, grass fed and grass fattened beef.

  • Andrew

    Lovely exchange of opposites learning from each other. Thanks and good luck finding your way, RB. You have the potential to help a lot of people when you do, and not only those who’ll eat your food!
    ps nice interview on CBC yesterday Dr. P! Made me a check-it-out convert.

    • David Perlmutter

      Thanks for tuning in Andrew, really enjoyed the interview. Glad it helped you find me.

      • David

        Dr.P – I would love to see your reply to the post that precedes this one, in which Mm asks about diet and Parkinson’s disease.

  • Mm

    Parkinson’s patients are advised to restrict daytime intake of protein to 7 grams; eat rest at dinner. Also, PD patients are advised fat is a no-no. With VIP info from book, how would a patient adjust diet to compensate? Or, how to reconcile the restriction re timing and grams of protein as well as the fat restriction laid out by other sources? Thank you.

    • Sue Cauchy

      Maybe this is misinformation based on the old low fat medical model. It is more about the healthy fats than protein anyways. Look into Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora Gedaugas and the GAPS diet by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride. This will answer your question.

    • B12DinPEI

      Have a look at Dr. Terry Wahl’s version of Paleo for MS. She has had some Parkinson’s patients try her diet and be successful. Healthy fats such as those found in grassfed meat, wild fish, coconut oil and olive oil are necessary for a healthy brain and nervous system.

    • David Perlmutter

      Actually, dietary fat is more important for Parkinson’s patients than almost anyone. This study, (http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/15728303/reload=0;jsessionid=YHqsATUHoWzOLDoGioWK.44 which provided an extremely high-fat diet to Parkinson’s patients, showed that it dramatically improved their functionality. We recommend to our PD patients taking levodopa to concentrate their protein towards the evening when they are less physically active.

      • dw

        What is the effect of a high-fat diet on the pancreas and gall bladder?

        • Jane Britton

          Your pancreas is involved in insulin production so I guess it gets the day off when you eat high fat? :-) and your gall bladder is simply a sac that releases bile into the stomach to help digest fat from a meal. My belief is that stones form when eating a low fat diet, and get a bit touchy when you return to a healthy high fat diet… Im no expert, but this is my lay opinion. I’m fully paleo for over a year and have had my gall bladder removed, and have eaten extremely high fat (Im more a low carb high fat advocate that strict paleo, but I use the terms interchangeably) I haven’t had too many issues… I do sometimes have a quick dash to the bathroom, but I find the longer I eat high fat, the more my body tolerates it.

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  • Kathy Reagan Young

    What a wonderful, thoughtful person this farmer is. This concept not only rocks his world personally, but may well necessitate his entire livelihood to change. The fact that he’s researching and mindfully exploring from a perspective of concern for his fellow man makes me so proud of him and of our country. There are, by far, more good people on this earth than bad. Arming those people with knowledge – like Grain Brain – can only benefit the world. Thanks for sharing.

    • David Perlmutter

      I was glad he reached out Kathy. Starting dialogues like this one are part of the reason I wrote Grain Brain.

      • KiniKauai

        Sir,
        I am so happy to be in the middle of Grain Brain right now. My (future teacher) classmates and I are in an APA formatting class and must create an annotated bibliography on a topic we would like to research. We chose a comparative analysis of a Paleo style diet against the Standard American Diet (USDA School Lunch Program) in hopes that one day one of us might actually convince enough people that it is the school children who are being slowly killed in America by the school lunch. Your book will be one of the references for our paper. Do you or any of your colleagues in the research community have any plans to call for revamping the school lunch program? It seems such a shame that our tax dollars are going to harm our children with the carbohydrate-laden, fat-free lunches served daily across our country.

  • katdogfriend

    I have not yet gotten to read your book, yet, Dr., but have believed what I understand the main premise to be, for quite a few years. I have a question…just as there are “heirloom” tomato seeds, are there any seeds of non-engineered wheat left that could be put into the hands of farmers such as this man, who desire to be part of the solution, rather than the problem? I believe wheat is only a problem when it is altered, right?

    • Leaf Eating Carnivore

      No. All wheat -even Einkorn, as well as barley and rye, contain an inimical form of gluten. Furthermore, all grains, “whole” or not, are hugely concentrated sources of carbohydrates, with precious little nutrition other than raw calories. Remember that all carbs go to sugar in your body. This is one, if not the main, leg of the obesity/diabetes epidemic. I refer you to “Why We Get Fat…” (Taubes), and “Protein Power” as good primers.

    • Karen

      I would love to hear Dr. P’s response to this post

  • Neeraj

    How about returning the wheat fields back to grassland and raising cattle? Kind of similar to what Alan savory recommends. http://tinyurl.com/cttagpe

  • Susan

    Believe it or not, most corn is not eaten but is used in industrial applications. So there will still be opportunities to make a living raising corn. The rest of us (urban types) could help the farmers out by growing our own food ln gardens so that they can concentrate on making us that delicious grass-fed meat. Also, soon there will be the vats of yeast protein to stave off starvation.

  • Sue Cauchy

    I love it! How amazing that this farmer was open to changing his whole way of life! I think a big part of the answer is for individuals to start gardening and producing their own food instead of letting agribusiness provide everything for us. Take back our connection to our food. My health has dramatically improved since quitting grains and sugars, I will never go back to eating them.

    • David Perlmutter

      People like this gentlemen are proof that change is possible. We all want to move towards this goal of betterment.

  • Marty Wilson

    I KNEW this day would come! ‘Getting farmers in the dialog is very important. I used to say that we can’t blame the grain farmers of the early 1920s or so… they were just trying to make a living. The science was not established yet. How could anyone have known the deleterious effects of gluten in particular. Times they are a changing.

  • Steve Nagel

    Bring up Poly vs Mono culture farming practices…as well as cutting overhead by creating healthy soil…sorry, no references here but I’ve seen accounts of farms that produce HUGE amounts of food comparatively (caloric) to monoculture crops. Cutting down on pesticide use/overhead of using monsanto’s products and having to drive over and over all year long…of course they will have to learn to “manage people” as it is more labor intensive…but a great leader with a great vision will accept that challenge whole-heartedly.

    GREAT so see an open-minded, willing-to-change farmer out there! Great job!

  • jeanine

    Great
    conversation between Dr. P and the farmer. Not only are the farmer’s
    questions and concerns valid, but they are crucially important. Think of
    what it would mean if grain farmers had to switch crops in order to
    sustain their livelihoods — what would
    be the best crops, based on geography, weather, etc. If the farmers
    switch to above-ground veggies or greens, could they afford the storage
    facilities, and how would “we” ensure delivery of these new, more delicate, crops to
    people around the world? The infrastructure needed would be vastly
    different than what is required for wheat or rye or corn or rice. It
    really isn’t an easy problem at all, and would at the very least take
    decades, not to mention how long it could take just for the healthy
    eating message to really sink in. I could go on …

    • David Perlmutter

      Thanks for taking the time to read this and share your thoughts Jeanine.

  • Tami

    I’m not sure…..I really feel for farmers and I believe they possess a very important part of our economy and feeding the world. A very few of us have the privilege and monetary means to follow the diet suggested in Grain Brain. Eating well costs much more and many families just cannot afford to eat well.

    • KiniKauai

      Tami, it really does not cost much more, if any more, to eat in the manner Dr. Perlmutter and many others suggest. I live on Kauai where practically everything is more expensive. The sad fact here is that avocados often fall to the ground and rot, coconuts grow in abundance but no one wants to be the entrepreneur and make the oil, so we buy from the Philippines. When sugar cane as an industry died, here, much of the land went to grazing grass-fed and finished beef, some to the biotech companies, and there is still plenty fallow. But I digress. Look at your next grocery bill and subtract the cost of all the items you would not buy if eating grain and sugar free. That money is now in your pocket to buy vegetables, meat, fish, and other healthy foods. The biggest payoff is that when you eat real food, you don’t get hungry all the time. If you give a kid a bowl of Fruit Loops and non-fat milk for breakfast, they are hungry again less than two hours later. If you give them bacon, eggs, and avocado for breakfast, they are good until lunch or after.

  • Jane Britton

    I worry about third world countries. I don’t want to be a food snob, a paleo snob. It’s fine for me to eat real food but what about those who live hour by hour starving? I am doing a science degree and I feel the same sense of disquiet about genetically modified foods… it’s ok for me in my western country to shun them, but what if it meant lives saved for those in third world countries? There is no easy answer… I haven’t read your book, but I’ve heard many good things and will definitely buy it.

    • Jen

      There isn’t evidence that genetically modified foods will help feed the world or save lives (if this is what you mean). This is the marketing scheme biotech companies use to sell the idea that GMOs are needed and beneficial and wonderful. The whole world would be just fine if we went back to conventional farming practices; in fact there are now becoming issues with weeds not even responding anymore to Roundup and becoming ‘superweeds’, and more powerful herbicides are talked about being used (I believe it’s 2-4D). Many small countries are rejecting GMOS, even when biotech companies offer free seeds (Haiti rejected free GMO seeds and recently Mexico banned GMOs).

  • KFD

    http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL32725.pdf
    Thank you for your book if has us all thinking. I have been contemplating growing Industrial Hemp for some time now.
    Please check out this link about Industrial Hemp. It has so many uses: high protine for
    animals, humans fabric etc it is absolutely amazing.

  • Bethany

    I can relate to this topic. My father is a MN corn and soybean’s farmer, and is quite heavy and unhealthy himself. He has made comments too about use of chemicals and the growth/survival benefits of genetically modified grains, and how would we be able to provide for world food needs without this? I’m blocked in my efforts to educate him for potential health changes due to the fact that some of the needed changes would require that he question his life and livelihood. Not that that is the only barrier! He is pretty set in his dietary ways. I don’t think there is a solution here, but it is sad to feel that things could be better, but not have the jurisdiction to make it so!

  • bunter

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/09/monsanto-roundup-herbicide.aspx Monsanto continues to lie about the health consequences of roundup. It doesn’t degrade as quickly as they said, so there are traces in your cereal and in the meat from the feed lot, and in you, wreaking havoc with your microbiome.

  • Louise Mitchell

    Dear RB and Dr. Perlmutter, I work with the Healthy Food in Health Care Program with Health Care Without Harm http://www.healthyfoodinhealthcare.org. Our program focuses on engaging hospitals throughout the United States (and globally) in purchasing more nutritious, whole foods that have been produced in an environmentally sound, economically viable and socially responsible manner. This includes engaging hospitals in supporting farmers transitioning from an “unsustainable” form of agriculture to a more sustainable form of agriculture, to support not only the health of the patients, employees and community members eating their food, but to also support public health and the health and economic viability of local farmers and local communities. I would be happy to help guide you in how to take steps to connect with a local hospital in your region that would be willing to support you by buying products from you during your transition, so that you can continue to put “food on the table” for your family at home. Restaurants, hotels, universities, schools, state agencies, corporate campuses and other small and large purchasers of food are also willing to support this transition, especially since all of them are now starting to address the obesity, diabetes and chronic disease crisis that we have in the U.S. Plus, hospitals are now required to fund community health needs to maintain their tax-free status, so in your region, I wonder if a case could be made for the need to fund farmers in transition off of wheat production. I would be happy to look into this further for you. I would strongly recommend reading Joel Salatin’s books on farming = http://www.polyfacefarms.com/books-dvds/ and here is the home page on his website: http://www.polyfacefarms.com and I encourage you to even contact him by phone http://www.polyfacefarms.com/contact/ to inquire about how to transition out of wheat production to produce a variety of more financially viable and health promoting foods. He has been featured in movies such as “Food Inc.”, “Fresh” and “Farmageddon” and if you watch these movies, you’ll see that this kind of support for local sustainable farmers is a rapidly growing movement in the U.S. There are other farming experts too, which you can find at ACRES USA http://www.acresusa.com or even by seeking out the Sustainable Agriculture organization in your region. In a brief search on the internet, I found the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture organization: http://www.npsas.org/. Their upcoming 35th Annual Winter Conference is from January 23-25, 2014 in Aberdeen, South Dakota. You will meet A LOT of like-minded people here so it would be worth your time, definitely!! (I attend our Sustainable Ag conference in our region and we work closely with one another to connect farmers to hospitals and vice versa). I also helped to start a farm several years ago that focused on replenishing the minerals back into the soil in order to provide maximum nutrients into the food, which also taste A Lot better and have a longer shelf life – a very marketable product!! I still do some farming/gardening in the field and in a hoop house and with chickens for egg production, but I am not a large scale farmer as you are. It may be possible to gradually transition a section of your farm to produce vegetables, fruit, meat, poultry and/or other proteins (eggs, goat, cow or sheep dairy, etc.). Joel Salatin can definitely teach you how to do this. If your soil, weather, water supply or other conditions are not amenable to producing these products, you may be able to build the soil enough over time to transition to this, but obviously I don’t know your situation. Another important step in being successful in your transition is to tell your story! Sharing with several local hospitals, like-minded dietitians, nurses and doctors, restaurants, universities, etc. in your region about Dr. Perlmutter’s book and what you learned from it and why you want to transition to producing another product would be a compelling story to many who want to support these kinds of transitions that you are considering!! Some folks would even allow you to set up a CSA drop of your food weekly for customers that want your food (CSA = Community Supported Agriculture = customers pay a year’s fee for your food in the Winter or Spring and then you provide them with a share of your harvest weekly during the growing season, or you can have a meat and/or egg CSA all year-long!). You could even apply for at least a few different types of grants, both federal and private foundation grants, to assist you during this transition! I found this by searching on the internet: North Central Sustainable Research and Education Center has a Farmer Rancher Grant opportunity which is due on November 14th. It’s for farmers and ranchers who want to carry out Sustainable Agriculture research, demonstration, and education projects on their farms. See their website: http://www.northcentralsare.org/ and look down on the right under “Open Grant Calls for Proposals.” You can also inquire with them about other opportunities .. or you could start to prepare now to apply next year, if this grant is a fit for what you want to do. If it is not a fit, there are PLENTY of other grant opportunities available!! I would be happy to share more with you and talk with you by phone to provide you with additional information and resources, so please feel free to contact me. I would also be happy to post additional resources and websites to the information mentioned above in the near future. Looking forward to continuing this Very Important conversation! I read each of your posts and look forward to reading the posts from other people on this page very soon. Dr. Perlmutter – Thank You for publishing this Incredibly Important Book – more on that another time!! Best regards, Louise Mitchell, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator, Healthy Food in Health Care Program, Health Care Without Harm, Sustainable Foods Program Manager, Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Center for Integrative Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, 443-257-3209, louise.mitchell@som.umaryland.edu.

  • David Wyant

    Speaking as someone who has worked as an intensive Vegetable farmer (non organic) I can say that the cost to the soil is heavy with most forms of arable agriculture.
    I think Michael Pollan’s book “The Omnivore’s Dillemma” is a treatise on this very subject. He has some great presentations on You tube on the subject. I find his concept of the “grass farmer” which is in reality a mixed livestock farm working rotationally with various crops and animals very compelling.

  • Cheryl

    So many folks have/are turning away from grains and becoming grain free. It will take many more years before farmers really feel it. Probably decades before they are forced to grow something else.
    Obesity levels and diabetes are still on the rise. When that starts declining then we can say “oh, people are getting it”. Whats most important is that YOU are doing it for yourself and your family. RB is very smart in thinking ahead on this. This is so exciting!! Thanks Dr!

  • Iris Davis

    RB raised some very interesting and pertinent questions – very deep to the core of our continued existence (and hopefully thriving) of ourselves and our planet. I think that some of the folks who have commented before me have some great ideas. Maybe at some point soon we’ll reach the 100th monkey and turn things around for the better for all living creatures. I’m not what the answers are, and it will most likely require different solutions, but the question begs an answer and soon.

    I think that Dr.P is on to the species appropriate diet for humans. I haven’t finished the book, but I’ve already been applying the principles (completely no grain at this point) and have noticed significant improvements – increased energy, no brain fog, losing weight, etc. I’ve fed my dog and cats an appropriate diet for them based on their ancestral requirements and they are much healthier (plus their poop doesn’t smell as bad! What’s weird is when you cut out the grains, I’ve noticed the same thing with us.)

  • Lin

    How much study compares the very early glutens with current gluten? How many studies compare traditionally harvested and ripened wheat, which used to sit in the field after being cut with the fast harvest methods of today? Is there a critical difference in the two methods of harvesting and ripening grain that also makes a difference?

    When biodynamic methods of agriculture are used, what difference does that make ( apart from a premium price and improved bottom line for the farmer)?

    There are more and more studies looking at sourdough and lactic fermentation. All traditional cultures have fermented grains, even millet and sorghum. What happens when a traditional wheat variety, with traditional ripening and harvesting is used in sourdough? Here is plenty of research ideas. What are the details in all aspects of such a grain?

    There must still be a future for wheat but it will not be what passes for wheat grain and its flour today in most countries.

    • Karen

      I would love to hear Dr. P’s comments to this post

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  • Janet

    This was a very exciting conversation. Thanks to both of you.